In the small village of Placencia, Belize, recent road access has meant a boom in tourism and general rise in population. Placencia is a sixteen-mile peninsula with the Caribbean on its east and a mangrove lagoon to its west.
With little land available for development, some have started to remove mangrove forests and fill the area in to create their own.
Those who have lived in Placencia their whole lives understand the importance of mangroves to coastal ecosystems, how they filter runoff from the mainland, provide nursery habitat for juvenile fish and buffer storm energy from sweeping away land, and are pushing for the government of Belize to declare the lagoon a protected area. They hope to make an example for other communities around Belize and the world fighting to protect mangrove forests.